Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The One About ATLOSCon 2012

Really, this year's conference couldn't have been better.

Sure, there was room for improvement, and we learned a lot about how our schedule should work for next time, and budgeting time for Atlanta traffic, etc. And don't worry--we'll make improvements based on our experience and the feedback we've already received and the feedback we'll receive from the attendees.

But really, those kinds of logistical things aside, ATLOSCon 2012 was damn near perfect.

Some of the highlights for me included:

  • Rock climbing for the first time ever in my life. Wow, that was fun! I am definitely going to do this again in the future. Thanks, William, for the video evidence! (Warning: if you click this link, you will get to see more of my ass than you ever wanted to.)
  • Having a house full of guests who were fun and interesting and easy going and willing to buy us light bulbs. Rachel, Paul, Diana, Lynne, and Stephen (and K. and V.)--you are all welcome back any time! I promise I will check the light bulb situation before you get here next time.
  • Having a house large enough for a ginormous party! Yes, it got a little hot in here, but happily, we have lots of outdoor space for people to congregate in and it wasn't pouring down rain. 
  • And our living room turned out to be a really nice space for Diana's Philosophy in Action webcast on Sunday morning:
  • Our ABBA performances (here they are in part 1 and part 2, taken by Jason, and here is the whole thing in one take, thanks to Danny). I still can't quite believe I agreed to do it, let alone actually did it! So much fun. :D
  • The classes I participated in went pretty well, and we've had some nice feedback so far about them. Here's a picture of Kelly and me during our Mistaken Goal Chart class:

  • I really liked the classes I attended, especially Kyle's The Selfish Society, Stephen's Ayn Rand's Theory of Concepts (ask me about the 6 mile fork!), Stella's crossword puzzle class, and, of course, the classic cocktails class with Tori and Trey. 
  • The kids came to some of the classes, too, and I think that was awesome. I love that our conference is accessible to families with kids of all ages! We have some wonderful babysitters, too (thank you so much)!
  • Thanks to the cocktail class, I discovered a new cocktail that I really really like: The Sidecar! I've always been a brandy fan, and now I have something else to do with it besides just sip it (which, of course, is fun, too). Brendan and I have been looking for a name for our bar downstairs, and I think we're going to start calling it The Sidecar Bar, to commemorate both ATLOSCon 2012 and my new favorite drink! So if you ever get a Facebook invitation to The Sidecar Bar, you'll know where to go--my house!
  • The CrossFit workout at CrossFit Kennesaw was really fun. 11 of us got up early the morning after the party to WOD it up, can you believe it? Here are a couple of pictures:

I'm pretty sure Chris (owner/lead trainer @ CFK) put wall balls on the workout because he knows how much I hate them!

That's my push press face!
And there was SO MUCH MORE. What I participated in directly is only but a fraction of everything we offered at our conference. I still haven't heard all the stories and about all of the classes and the events I didn't attend (hit me up with some stories, please!).

Here's a picture of Kelly and me speaking at the Meet and Greet. It's a little dark, since the light was behind us. But I love Kelly's gesturing! Did anyone get a picture of her in her robe and crown after she was crowned Queen of ATLOSCon? Please send it.

By the way, ATLOSCon doesn't happen without the work of many, many people--but most of all, without the work/bossing of Kelly Elmore!

We have much to offer at our conference, and we are proud of our accomplishment. That so many (104!) attended and seemed to enjoy themselves is just WONDERFUL.

Kelly and I talked about this in our class about ATLOS and what our organization is all about. Objectivism is a philosophy for living on earth, and ATLOS is a group for people living in a particular part of earth.

We are building a community here, where we share not only Objectivism and Ayn Rand as a commonality, but other aspects of life on earth as well: our interests, passions, families, work, and play.

Our conference, ATLOSCon, reflects all of these aspects of our group--the philosophy that originally brought us all together, and our other many, varied values. I already have several ideas for passions I want to talk about at next year's conference, and I know others do, too, as I had many many conversations about this with speakers and attendees. I cannot wait to find out what next year's classes will include! (Hint: Personally, I'm hoping there will be something about The Beatles.)

I shared this on Facebook, but I want to capture this here, too. One of the best compliments we have received so far about our conference comes from David, a first-time attendee. He writes, speaking about the Meet and Greet, which was our first event:

"From the start, the social gathering sort of felt like one big family getting together to have dinner and shoot the breeze. Not the dysfunctional sort of family, but the kind that you look forward to seeing and are sad to let go."

I got sort of chills down my spine when I read this, because it really captured the essence of this community-building we are working so hard to achieve here. And for this observation to come from someone who came here to a conference for the first time was really gratifying.

All in all, a wonderful experience, and I'm happy to have been a part of it yet again. I love our group, I'm so happy to know you all, and hope that we will continue to grow our community for living life in Atlanta! Please join us next year for ATLOSCon 2013 (Memorial Day Weekend--mark your calendars now), or for any of our regular events throughout the year.


Josh Job said...

I really thought ATLOSCon was amazingly awesome. I agree completely with other David (the one I don't know personally, haha). I got that feeling my first year (last year), and again this year. It's really weird that even though you might not know all these people particularly well you feel nearly as comfortable as around long-time friends.

I can't wait for next year! And for cracking 100 people, woohoo!

Paul Hsieh said...

Lots of pluses:

1) Catching up with old friends and getting to know some awesome new people.

2) The intellectual stimulation, both from the formal sessions and the informal "hanging out" between talks.

3) The great sense of community. This is the real value of the minicons, IMHO.

4) Being jazzed up with several new ideas of topics to write and/or lecture about.

5) Leaving with a sense of hope and optimism about the world.

Thanks, Kelly, Jenn, and Miranda for helping put on such a great event. I can hardly wait until next year!